CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - In front of the fire department, is a memorial with a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.
About eight years ago it was installed, where it stands as an everyday reminder about what happened 19 years ago.
"We're so passionate about continuing this dedication and this memorial service for those people who lost their lives on 9-11," said Fire Chief Doug Meyers, explaining why a town 1,800 miles from New York City holds this somber ceremony every year.
"Many previous years, we've hosted firefighters from New York during RAGBRAI that stayed here. We formed friendships with those guys. A few of them lost their lives on 9-11," he said.
September 11, 2001 is a day which has changed all our lives forever. City Councilman and NIACC history instructor Bennett Smith says there are few days in our past to compare it to.
"It's the kind of tragedy that the only parallel I can think of, that I explain to my students is what happened after pearl harbor. It really unified the country it was a surprise attack and just an enormous tragedy," said Smith.
Even though our country seems divided right now, Smith thinks a poignant day like 9-11 can remind us of our common bonds.
"There are a lot of divisions in our society, but today is one that we need to be united and we can be united in commemorating the fallen and just the virtue and valor they showed on that day."
Next year, on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, Clear Lake is planning a large memorial. They plan to invite fire departments from around the state. A New York City firefighter who survived the rescue efforts is also slated to talk about his experience.